Ohio has more than 800 bald eagle nests this year

Bald eagles Orv and Willa returned to Carillon Historical Park to build a nest in 2020. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY JIM WELLER

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Bald eagles Orv and Willa returned to Carillon Historical Park to build a nest in 2020. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY JIM WELLER

The most recent bald eagle census estimates there are more than 800 bald eagle nests in Ohio.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife said the 806 nests represent a 14% increase from the 707 bald eagle nests documented in Ohio in 2020, and is a 187% increase from 2012, the year the bald eagle was removed from Ohio’s list of threatened and endangered species.

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Among bald eagle nests in the area is that of Orv and Willa, the bald eagles that took residence in 2018 at Carillon Historical Park in Dayton and have returned each year since. They are named for Wilbur and Orville Wright after they built a nest in a towering sycamore tree behind Wright Hall, home of the 1905 Wright Flyer III. The eaglets each year have been given aviation-themed names.

The bald eagle — the national bird of the U.S. since 1782 — was once an endangered species with only four nesting pairs in Ohio in 1979.

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“Bald eagle management by the Division of Wildlife includes habitat conservation with an emphasis on wetlands and wooded river corridors, working with rehabilitators who help injured birds recover, and helping to enforce protective state and federal laws,” Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker stated in a release. “We are incredibly proud that Ohio’s bald eagle population continues to improve and grow.”

Bald eagles are protected under state and federal law. When viewing them, people must stay at least 100 yards away because disturbing bald eagles at the nest site could lead the pair to abandon their eggs.

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